Spotlight on Dave Hanson

If you are a fan of the blues then read on as Dave Hanson is a talent that you need to know about. This impressive guitarist has been captivating audiences with what he describes as ‘ a laid back, bluesy and groovy sound inspired by his love of JJ Cale, Dire Straits and The Black Keys’. Not only that but he has been receiving great reviews for his debut EP ‘Blind Faith’ and for his album ‘Almost Horizontal’. Dave is currently getting ready to release his new EP ‘LIVE!. As the title indicates this is a collection of songs which have all been recorded live.

I have had the opportunity to hear to the new EP and I will tell you all about it. Before I share my thoughts on this and his album, I want to share some more information about the man of the hour. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Dave Hanson about getting into the world of music, performing live and more. This is what he had to say:

What was it that inspired you to become a musician and who helped to shape your sound?

The late great Chuck Berry was the first to inspire me. I heard the riff to Johnny Be Goode age 8 and HAD to learn how to play that. It was such a cool sound. I got a guitar and slowly started figuring it out. Think it took me maybe 5 years! The first song I played live too – in a school assembly. I used to love Rock music as a teenager – guns n roses, nirvana, pearl jam…. so I suppose my sound has changed quite a bit over the years! Being part of the Dunwells and playing folk and Americana music really helped shape my sound and songwriting.

You have this wonderful laid back blues sound, is this the main focus when you create new music?

I suppose my sound is a representation of who I am as a person. People tell me I’m really laid back and chilled out. I’ve always been a fan of easy listening music – the rat pack stuff – music to watch girls by etc.. effortless, groovy and cool. I try to achieve that with my music. I don’t have any particular approach to writing but I’ve got to have a reason to write a song. I can’t just pick up a guitar and say “today I’m gonna write”. I come up with a lot of melodies and ideas when I’m in the shower, driving my car and even when asleep. My phone is full of mumbled voice memos recorded at 3 am!

Last year saw the release of your debut album ‘Almost Horizontal’. Tell us a little about the album and any stories about your favourite songs from it.

The album took about 6 months to make. I recorded at a studio in Leeds, UK. It was all done live to analogue tape and we used a producer called Tim Palmer to mix it – he’s worked with David Bowie, U2 and Pearl Jam so it was cool to work with him! My favourite songs are the ones that tell stories – Small Town Sinner is about my disdain for internet dating sites – I love the faux gospel choir in the last chorus – that took a lot of planning and recording. I had to round up every great singer I knew and layered up the overdubs! I also love the song Por Favor Señor which was written about a friend of mine that got VERY lucky with the ladies one night. A menage a Cinq so he tells me! I love the groove on that track. We were going for a Santana meets ZZ Top vibe and I think we nailed it!

You have recently been busy touring which has included a trip to the US. What does performing live mean to you?

I love being on stage performing live. There’s nothing quite like it. I’ve done a lot of touring across the world and spent more time in the back of a van than most, but I wouldn’t change it for the world and look forward to the next outing.

Talking about your shows, you a live EP on the way. Tell us all about it and why you chose the songs which have been featured.

We recorded shows from our Almost Horizontal UK tour last year and picked the standout tracks for the EP. The songs that were chosen represent our Live set perfectly. They’re groovy, funky and you can tell we’re having a lot of fun onstage. For me the stand out track is our Santana Cover – Evil Ways. We really stretch out on that song and you can hear the interplay between the band. It’s definitely a Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury set!

Time for a bit of fun. If you could time travel, who would you like to jam with and why?

John Bonham on drums for the groove, John Lennon to give me songwriting tips, Jimi Hendrix to show me some licks, Amy Winehouse to sing…

You have had a busy career so far, what has been your personal highlights?

Of course playing the Tonight Show in 2012 with the Dunwells – especially as I wrote the song we performed and got to shred a 2 minute guitar solo on US Network Television! But releasing my album last year and getting a 5 out of 5 review in Maverick Magazine was most definitely a highlight. They said I was one of the finest guitarists around!

Apart from the release of the new EP ‘Live!’, what other goals do you have for your music?

We’re planning more touring later this year and I’ve been demoing songs for a new Album so I expect that will be recorded later this year. I ran a successful pledge campaign last year for my first album and found it really enjoyable so I hope to run another pledge music campaign this year. It’s amazing to able connect directly with fans and involve them in the whole music making process from an early stage.

Let’s talk a little about the music of Dave Hanson. His album ‘Almost Horizontal’ is a collection of songs that feels like a homage to the early works of Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. It has this cool laid back vibe that blends rock, Americana and funk with a few other genres mixed in for good measures. His sound is built around his guitar skills and this guy can REALLY play. From licks to captivating solos it is difficult not to admire the way he make his 6 string friend sing. As much as he is great with an electric guitar, I have a lot of love for the track ‘Make Hay’ which strips this back with an acoustic guitar (which was recorded in one take).

You can not talk about this album without mentioning his lyrical talent which balances enough depth in his stories but still delivers a catchy hook to get you singing along. Talking about singing, Dave brings his own style of vocals which mirrors the tone of his music which has a cool natural feel about it. My favourite track ‘Devil’ showcases how good he can sing. The gentle fusion of jazz meets blues is something I did not expect and his gentle tone blew me away. I love it’s low key sound which lets you to really appreciate his vocal and words. There is also a nice guitar solo halfway through the song which is really sexy!

I can’t wait to see Dave perform live and after hearing his new EP ‘LIVE!’ I know that it will be a great show. With his band comprising of Becka Ward (vocals), Steve Hanley (drums), Sam Quintana (bass), Martin Longhawn (keys), Matt Baxter (guitars) and Paddy Wells (harmonica) they all ensure that they deliver a performance that will not disappoint. Throughout the EP you get to hear each band member show off their impressive musical qualities. Of them all, I love hearing the crazy cool sound from Martin on the keys. Check out the song ‘Midday Sun’ which is a great example of the band at their best.

Obviously Dave’s skills on the guitar steals the show and he does so in what feels like a playful manner. He is someone who is at home with his guitar and is confident of his talents. I don’t normally highlight cover songs as I prefer original material but check out his version of ‘Evil ways’ which was originally done by Santana. He sounds confident in performing such an iconic tune and his guitar style is effortless and relaxed.

I highly recommend that you check out the music of Dave Hanson which can be found on Soundcloud and Spotify. If you like what you can hear then grab yourself a copy of ‘Almost Horizontal’ and ‘LIVE!’ (available after 31st March) from the usual online stores of Amazon or iTunes. You can also grab physical copies (including signed options) from his shows or online store (click HERE).

I know that Dave is currently working on his follow up album and from chatting to him you expect something special when it is released. To find out information about his music and upcoming shows then head over to DaveHansonMusic.co.uk. Alternatively, you can find this information from his social media sites at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Don’t forget that independent musicians like Dave Hanson need the help of their fans so they can continue to do what they love. So go spread the word about this amazing talent TODAY!

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